While over 100,000 people travel to Austin, TX every year for the chance to make it big, get a record deal and drink PBR until they're forced to listen to heavy metal while eating spicy pizza on 6th street, we've done the legwork so you won't have to subjected to that sort of hell -- 25 rap essential rap shows to see at SXSW 2013.
Fans, you can spend less than 20 bucks a night and see some amazing performance. Rappers, you will play for free all week and lose money but make lots of rap fans happy, and maybe witness a random meeting of Perez Hilton and Peter Rosenberg post-party hosting duties. And event planners -- how could we forget you? -- hopefully your show made into our list.
1. Warner Sound @ Belmont (March 12, 8 PM)
It isn't often that Macklemore will play a gig with Action Bronson. And Sirah, the gal rapper on Skrillex's Bangarang, opens up the show with her tunes from her latest mixtape, C.U.L.T. KIDS. Rockie Fresh is there too. Things start slow on Tuesday night, but this is probably the best thing to be at that if you're at SXSW early.
2. Cannon Steps Back -- Don Cannon @ 404 Austin (March 12, 8 PM)
Don Cannon caught our ear when he got busy to host Asher Roth back in the day with the Greenhouse Effect. His SXSW showcase gives us some trill down south vibes. Look out for Gilbere Forte and the legendary L.E.P Bogus Boys, but I would def spare the 11th hour for Chase N. Cashe. If you want the Christian/Muslim effect post-trap house, 12:45 is Lecrae and 1:20 am is Freeway.
3. NERD CORE showcase -- MC Lars @ Flamingo Cantina (March 12, 1:10 AM)
If you want to be educated and know a lot more about life, go to the Nerdcore showcase. This year with a new headliner (MC LARS) trained in the art of "lit hop," and awesome lawyer turned rapper, Adam Warrock. Cool thing about Adam is that he is from the same place Three 6 Mafia is from (Memphis). MC Frontalot had his own film done on him and the other acts get more clever and crazier if you look into their careers. Nerdcore is some of the best vibes you will ever get. I assure you attending this is a good idea, especially if you wanna listen to acts that talk about selling drugs and getting paid all week, which is a lie, because they are all playing for free.
4. Fader Fort -- Trinidad James @ 1101 E. 5th Street (March 14, 6 PM)
The Fader Fort has some great acts playing throughout SXSW, but we imagine many heads will turn up for Trinidad James 6 PM performance on Thursday just to see if the hype is real or not. Does James have any other songs besides "All Gold Everything?" We'll have to find out.
5. Hangin' Out -- Kosha Dillz @ Townhouse (March 13, 8 PM)
If you ever come to SXSW for a weird gig, there are these shows that combine all kinds of artists from all over. Kosha Dillz will be hangin' out, Soul Khan will drop gems, and Crew 54 and Buck 65 may start a math team together. An interesting bill with lots of dope talent from people will full-fledged rap careers. Social Studies was a great subject, so the 5 piece band should be fulfilling.
6. The Illmore -- location unknown (March 13, 10 PM) (ed note: You need a password for this event, but hey, you can always try to guess it, right?)
The Illmore is the brain child of Sascha Stone and Mike Waxx who combined the dopiness of the blog game and concert game into a VIP brand. Put them (Waxx and Stone) together and they're still younger than most Wu Tang members, but Score More, who books intimate tours for the hottest acts in 7 markets, has developed enough respect amongst these Emcees to curate a 100,00 dollar show for free. It doesn't matter who is playing the show. It will be the best one and most anticipated vibe out of all 5000 + events @ SXSW for any music fan.
7. Brainfeeder showcase -- Azizi Gibson @ Empire Automotive Club (March 13, 8 PM)
If it is actually possible to have the combination of Flying Lotus and Earl Sweatshirt perform at SXSW, we can only remember that Tyler, the Creator jumped off the thrasher awning a few years back. Who knows what will happen with these guys, but this venue is one of the hottest to be at. You never know who will make it there. The Underachievers and Gas Lamp Killer mean trouble to me, and you can only hope special guests mean...well at this point it doesn't even matter. This venue in general will be one of the go-to venues for SXSW.
8. SPIN House 2013 -- Kendrick Lamar, Solange @ Stubbs BBQ (March 13-15)
Yes its true. This year the BET 2012 lyricist of the year will play absolutely every amazing showcase you can think of. SPIN magazine is one of them. Stubbs BBQ is the place to be.
9. Pandora Discovery Den showcase -- Dead Prez @ Antones (March 13, 11 PM)
Its bigger than Pan-Dora , Pan - Dora (hip hop....hip hop!!). Never would we expect Dead Prez on a SXSW showcase for Pandora opening up for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, but stranger things have happened.
10. AM Only showcase -- DJ Craze and others @ La Zona Rosa (March 13th, 9:40 PM)
If you prefer the turntablism DJ show vs. heavy bass, come to the AM only showcase. Craze will show you how he won every DMC title in his 40 min set. The pinnacle of the party will be an 11:40 set from Just Blaze followed by Baauer at 1:10 am. Maybe Danny Brown will sit in with Baauer in promo of their tour? Hmm..
11. SOBs Presents showcase -- Two9 @ 404 austin (March 13, 8:40)
If you wanna hang out real late you can see Ab Soul and ScHoolboy Q after midnight, and Wyclef right before, at 11:15. We would venture to say that nobody goes to SXSW to see Wyclef, so we'd probably skip all of that for something cooler like Two9 who play early. They are one of the crews to watch in in 2013.
12. OY VEY! SXSW Party -- Smoke DZA and Gangsta Boo @ Spider House Cafe (March 13, 7:20 PM)
A good mix of fan bases here. Come for free beer sponsored by G-Pen and kick rhymes with headliners Smoke DZA and Gangsta Boo. You can get a tattoo at the show upstairs, along with a side project from Congo Sanchez of Thievery Corporation and DC rapper Flex Mathews.
13. DJ showcase -- DJ Yoda @ Silhouette (March 13, 10:10 PM)
DJ sets and production always catch the eye of the wanderer. DJ Yoda is world famous from Guitar Hero and Sicksentz is out behind the wheels for Mr. MFN Exquire. The fact that the legendary Count Bass D is on this bill will mean that he is bringing out the production and raps for an interesting performance. DJ SKEE caps the night off. This is one hell of a DJ line up and a solid alternative to the AM Only showcase.
14. Rza's Soul Temple showcase -- Black Violin @ Scoot Inn (9:45 PM)
After dropping The Man with the Iron Fists, Rza presents the new flavor on his label Soul Temple, with Ghostface headlining along side Adrian Younge's musical direction. It's not just some live Wu-Tang band thing either. Lets make that clear from the start. This is a serious production and will be a very special show on a good side of town at Scoot Inn. Also catch U-God there, who does great in Texas. Jasmine Solano will open the night on the decks and provide the alternative sound for the night. Ghostface's new LP will be out in April, so expect new songs and his classics.
15. G Pen x Supergoodmusic x AllHipHop Breeding Ground showcase @ Rusty Spurs (March 14, 7 PM)
Everyone loved the Action Bronson G-Pen it's becoming rather popular in hip-hop circles. G-Eazy takes one out every night on the road, and The Game has his own G-Pen as well. Although the weed laws are not the same in Texas as they are in California, expect a cloud of disarray.
16. Dr. Maartens presents Filter on Rainey showcase -- Killer Mike @ Bar 96 (March 14, 12:30 AM)
Thursday night is gonna be rap-a-mania of the harder stuff. 11:30 PM gives us Flatbush Zombies, followed by A$AP Ferg at 11:50 and a classic veteran in Killer Mike headlining the at 12:30. Mike is not on many showcases, so this is the exact reason you want to see him.
17. Southern Hospitality "Super Rapper" Showcase -- Gangsta Boo @ Avenue on Congress Rooftop (March 14, 11:45 PM)
Southern Hospitality is the UK mainstay for southern rap. Trill heaven. Its a show of non-stop rapping on top of non-stop rapping. Imagine YG, Problem, IamSu! and The HB Gang and Gangsta Boo all within the same hour (11:45-12:45). To a real southern hip hop fan, that is what the local drinker would call "happy hour." Gangsta Boo is def the starlet to see with SpeakerFoxxx who has been hot stepping DJ all over Noisey blogs. This show will be bonkers.
18. Peter Rosenberg Presents: The New York Renaissance @ The North Door (March 14, 8 PM)
Peter Rosenberg has gone from the DMV kid to the King of New York-centric boom bap rap. The fact that the morning show man of NYC will skip a few days of work to hit Texas is awesome, and his interviews are the realest that they come. From Joey Bada$$ to A$AP Ferg to Troy Ave to Mr. MFN Exquire to World's Fair, this showcase has every emerging artist in the New York rap scene on it.
19. 2DBZ x Nah Right present: The Dope House @ Empire Automotive 12-6 pm (March 15, 12-6 PM)
The Empire Automotive venue has a great vibe to perform at and Alexander Spit and Trae tha Truth open up for the first of two Talib Kweli performances. If you are trying to get your real hip-hop fix, this is the place.
20. Mass Appeal Presents: Ice Cream -- Kendrick Lamar @ Austin City Music Hall (March 15, 7 PM)
If you missed your chance to see Kendrick Lamar, you can see him here at 12:40. Before he hits the stage check out acts like Bun B, Pusha T, Danny Brown, A$AP Ferg, Roc Marciano and others. This one's gonna be crazy.
21. Move Forward Music showcase -- Open Mike Eagle @ Empire Control Room (March 15, 8:30 PM)
This show will be one to not sleep on. Move Forward is not the biggest company in the world, but they've been responsible for a lot of Tanya Morgan's rise in the a past few years, as well as Black Milk. Artists to watch here include Elzhi and Rat King, but make sure you don't miss Open Mike Eagle.
22. Moodswing 360 showcase -- Silver Medallion @ Haven 409 B Colorado (March 15, 8:45 PM)
Its time to bring out the blog kids, trap fiends and pop fanatics who like to listen to dance and rap in the same night. Rap kids who miss weird hip stuff will love Riff Raff and some Greedhead freshness from Lakutis. Also on the bill, Outasight and Kool A.D. Oh, and Lil Debbie. Cheers to hoping Andy Milonakis shows up.
23. FryeDay showcase -- Asher Roth @ Buffalo billiards (March 15, 1 AM)
Def not a hip hop showcase at all (if you want to go super indie, we wont judge) but the fact that Asher Roth is on this bill make it interesting. Because we're wondering what his new stuff will sound like. He's got a 50-minute set here, so we're going to assume he's bringing a live band.
24. Official SXSW Hip-Hop showcase -- Paypa @ Suite 101 (March 16, 10:40 PM)
Between 10 and 11 PM you can see Chance the Rapper, Chuck Inglish, and King Chip. But definitely check for Paypa, who has collaborated with French Montana, among others. Mystikal is closing this show out, so it should be special. Hey, maybe he'll bring out Master P!
25. Fader Fort -- French Montana @ 1101 E. 5th Street (March 16, 7:30 PM)
If you're not hip-hopped out by now, watch French Montana close out the Fader Fort. This is a curious choice for a headliner and it should be interesting to see how well he's received by the audience in Austin. We suppose with the wealth of hip-hop heads making their way down to Texas these days that it should go over well, but Montana is someone people still seem to be on the fence about.